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#NCTE15: Doing More Isn't Doing Better


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Doing More Isn't Doing Better: How to Be an English Teacher and Have a Life

Published in: Education
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#NCTE15: Doing More Isn't Doing Better

  1. 1. Doing More Isn’t Doing Better How to Be an English Teacher and Have a Life Kevin English @KevinMEnglish Wayne, Michigan Lindsay Grady @LMGrady Fenton, Michigan Dave Stuart Jr. @davestuartjr Cedar Springs, Michigan Beth Shaum @BethShaum Allen Park, Michigan Amy Watkins @MrsWatkinsBHS Belleville, Michigan
  2. 2. Join the conversation on our Google Doc
  3. 3. The Teacher Bag
  4. 4. What’s on your plate?
  5. 5. Amy: One Teacher’s Story
  6. 6. Why did you become a teacher? ● “I love kids.” ● “I love learning and want to inspire kids to learn and grow.” ● “I am passionate about my subject.” ● “I want to make a difference.”
  7. 7. What are you doing every day in your classroom that directly contradicts the very reason you became a teacher?
  8. 8. “The way of the Essentialist isn’t about setting New Year’s resolutions to say ‘no’ more, or about pruning your inbox or about mastering some new strategy in time management. It is about pausing to constantly ask, ‘Am I investing in the right activities?’”
  9. 9. The Essentialist: ● Lives by design, not default ● Distinguishes the vital few from the trivial many ● Enjoys the journey, not just the destination ● Recognizes not just the mental discipline but the EMOTIONAL discipline it takes to say no ● Doesn’t say yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no. “If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
  10. 10. Have a repertoire for saying no “No, but…” Awkward pause (Own it!) “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” “Yes. What should I deprioritize?” “You are welcome to X. I am willing to Y.” “I can’t do it but X might be interested.”
  11. 11. Pareto’s Principle...
  12. 12. The Non-Freaked Out Approach to Literacy Instruction Across the Content Areas
  13. 13. (free e-book)
  14. 14. ... and Parkinson’s Law “It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion…” (Parkinson, The Economist, Nov 19, 1955)
  15. 15. Practical Implications Work schedule post: teacher-work-schedule
  16. 16. You’re probably never going to hear someone in your school system say, “Yep. It’s fine to cut corners here. Go ahead and spend time with your family.” You are responsible for drawing your own boundaries around your time. You can’t wait for someone to give you permission. - Angela Watson
  17. 17. Are you a martyr? Or a trickster?
  18. 18. Martyr: Life is pain. The world can never be solved. Through my torment, the truth shall be revealed. Life is interesting. Perhaps not… but it can be gamed. I didn’t come here to suffer, pal. Trickster:
  19. 19. Aspects of Technology ● Google ● Apps & Add-ons ● Social Media ● Cell phones/tablets ● Setting limits
  20. 20. Creative Grading Techniques ● 4:1 Ratio ● Credit vs. grade ● Socratic seminars, partner/group/class discussions, etc. ● Self and peer editing/grading of assignments ● Feedback vs. grading ● “Never work harder than your students.” -Robyn R. Jackson
  21. 21. From Short Term Solutions to Long Term Goals How to think beyond just survival
  22. 22. Are we asking students and teachers to live authentic lives in school? Or manufactured lives FOR school?
  23. 23. Hold Yourself Accountable to Your Students “I’m just gonna read all hour. I’m not gonna do a crossword puzzle.”
  24. 24. What does an authentic reading and writing life look like? ● Write Beside Them ● Read beside them ● No more language arts and crafts ● Realistic goals ● Teach for knowledge, not test results ● Real-World Writing Purposes -Kelly Gallagher ● Less busywork, more REAL work ● Remind ourselves what we are asking students to do all day ● Student input
  25. 25. Is what we’re doing necessary? “At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied. Meanwhile, no study has ever substantiated the belief that homework builds character or teaches good study habits.” --Alfie Kohn, “Rethinking Homework” Students should NEVER fail because of articles of the week (or homework).
  26. 26. Slow Down to Speed Up Routines allow for more work to be accomplished when the kids are actually in front of you and you are directly responsible for their learning.
  27. 27. Time = Values Increase Decrease ● Student choice of writing topics. ● Prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. ● Teacher modeling. ● Reading aloud to students. ● Give time to read choice materials and required texts. ● Teacher-decided writing topics. ● Writing assignments that are given briefly and completed in one step. ● Whole-class reading. ● Teaching reading as a one-step act. “If they’re not reading with you, they’re not reading without you.” -Kelly Gallagher from Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde’s Best Practices
  28. 28. Identify and Communicate Your Values And “research says…”
  29. 29. How the narrative of the caring educator does more harm than good If you just work harder If you just stay at school longer If you’d just care more… ...YOU can singlehandedly fix education. It’s all on YOU.
  30. 30. The time is NOW to advocate for our profession “It's not about making the case for advocacy. It's about making the case for you as advocates.” - Ernest Morrell When Legislators Attempt to Stifle Teacher Voice
  31. 31. Did you know... Since 1960 NCTE has formally advocated for teachers to have no more than 100 students per day? Since 1960 NCTE has formally advocated for teachers to have no more than 100 students per day? Resolution on Teaching Loads of English and Language Arts Teachers
  32. 32. Inform and empower yourself ● NCTE Position Statements ● NCTE Advocacy Day and Month ● Know your senators and congressmen AND even their staffers ● Know the people on your school board - and develop relationships with them ● Go to school board meetings ● Invite stakeholders into your schools and classrooms ● Inform yourself and vote at the local level, where change is more immediate ● Find ways to build collegial relationships with your administrators and not just see them as your evaluator
  33. 33. We can care, but we can’t carry the burden alone. What are ways that we are telling our stories and inviting others to share the load in a time that places more and more responsibilities on our shoulders?
  34. 34. “Adults need to have fun so children will want to grow up.” - Erica Bauermeister
  35. 35. Continue the conversation on our Google Doc View our presentation on Slideshare